Maryland Dairy Family Promotes Agriculture

10/20/2012 7:00 AM

Laurie Savage

Maryland Correspondent

STREET, Md. — The Allen and Kim Galbreath family works together and promotes the dairy and agriculture industries together. The Galbreaths sell ice cream and cheese and open their farm to the public for fall activities. “All three go together really well,” Kim said.

The children lend a hand on the operation when they aren’t in school. Daughter Elizabeth is a high school senior and an Alternate Maryland Dairy Princess. Son Alex is a senior at the University of Maryland, and son Robby is a junior at Mount Saint Mary’s University.

Before Elizabeth took on her dairy princess role, the family was already promoting the dairy industry and the healthfulness of dairy products.

Hawks Hill Creamery was founded in 2004 as a business to market value-added dairy products with the mission of providing consumers with a premium quality product, fresh from the farm, according to the creamery website.

“The milk price was so up and down. There were good years and bad years. With ice cream and cheese, we can control the price,” Kim said.

The cheese is hand crafted from raw milk without removing the butterfat and protein to give the cheese a richer, creamier taste and texture, the website said.

“The cheese is made by an Amish man and stored for 60 days before it is brought back,” Kim said.

In 2007, the family sold their dairy herd due to volatile milk prices and for health reasons. Local dairy farmer Jen Trout continues to milk cows from the Galbreath herd, as well as her own. The milk is used to make the creamery’s ice cream and raw milk cheese. The family raises about 20 replacement animals on the home farm. “Jen is wonderful,” Kim said.

The Galbreaths sell their cheese and ice cream from a concession trailer that includes a refrigerator, freezer, sink and plenty of counter space. “It’s a little kitchen on wheels,” Kim said.

In addition to putting the trailer to work on the farm, the vehicle also goes to farmers’ markets in Baltimore every Saturday and Westminster once a month. The Baltimore market is the family’s main source of income, and they are finishing up their ninth year of doing business there.

Their cheeses can also be found in several Maryland grocery stores, wineries and restaurants.

Agritourism is another large component to their farm. With events and school tours happening throughout the year.

“Agritourism today is how small family farms like ours stay alive. Not only does it benefit us, but it benefits the people who come to our farm because they learn about where their food comes from and how an actual family owned farm is operated,” Elizabeth said.

About five years ago, a pumpkin patch was added to the mix. Ice cream and cheese are sold on the farm during the pumpkin fest October weekends.

The family sells hot chocolate made from milk to encourage consumers to drink the beverage instead of hot chocolate made from water.

Admission is free to the fall festival, and hay rides are free with the purchase of a pumpkin. In addition to the pumpkin patch, other features are a hay ride, petting zoo, corn maze, straw man making, games and other activities, as well as mums, cornstalks and fall decorating ideas.

An egg hunt on the farm the day before Easter stretches the marketing season. Eggs are hidden in the alfalfa fields.

“We have a petting zoo and hay rides,” she said.

On school field trip visits to the farm, exercise is emphasized with an obstacle course and egg races using egg-shaped gourds to keep the fun clean. Kim asked her friends to search yard sales for stick horses. These horses are used for the stick horse races. “We are showing kids exercise is fun,” she said. A corn box to play in and labeled containers with different types of grain add an educational component to the field trips. The family grows soybeans, corn and alfalfa.

“That’s something we talk about on field trips,” she said, and kids learn what items are made from grain at the store.

Editor’s Note: The farm is Located at 805 Highland Road, Street. For more information, call 410-688-7922 or visit www.hawkshillcreamery.com.


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